The Bad Sleep Well
Akira Kurosawa, 1960
Watching Stray Dog a few weeks ago whetted my appetite to dip into Kurosawa’s non-Samurai work.
The Bad Sleep Well is tautly plotted and of course well acted by a lot of Kurosawa’s regulars (Toshiro Mifune looks like Japanese Clark Kent and acts like a Mifune in other movies where he was also a badassmotherfucker.)
It all hums along really nicely, it’s all really good but goddamn this thing is all about its beginning and its end. They work so well because the audience is learning about things at the same time as the supporting players and so we feel a part of that. The story starts at a wedding reception attended by the power players of city planning, land contractors and the press. There’s been arrests and the press are at the wedding in case there are more. As the reception roles on, the press talk amongst themselves filling in the gaps in their logic and the letting us know who the players are, what’s going on, background info. It’s an amazingly concise way of info dumping that gets you through the next 150 minutes of complex but never confusing story with ease. It’s just the same with the end where the supporting characters learn the fate of the main characters at same time we do and Takeshi Kato goes to town on his monologue personifying anguish and frustration.
Damn impressive work all around.
-Daniel Von Egidy, 2010